April 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is spending less a new reality for your family?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In light of the ongoing recession, about one-third of Americans say they've been spending less in recent months. More importantly, they say they plan to make this their "new, normal" pattern in the future. A new Gallup poll shows overall 53 percent of those surveyed say they have been spending less, while 32 percent of those people say it will become the new norm.

Many Americans say they’re saving more in light of tough economic times. Others are struggling just to make ends meet and do not have the extra cash to put away.

30 percent say they're spending about the same amount of money; and a surprising 17 percent say they're spending more. Meanwhile when it comes to savings, 36 percent say they're saving more in these tough times.

31 percent are saving the same amount as before; while 32 percent say they're saving less. This is probably because many Americans are doing everything they can just to make ends meet and don't have any extra money to put away.

The poll also found nearly 60 percent of Americans say they enjoy "saving money" more. That's 22 points higher than those who say they enjoy "spending money" more; and that gap has increased since the last time the question was asked.

It's worth noting that it's difficult to predict what people will actually do in the future; but these poll numbers could mean bad news for the country's retailers. Gallup suggests we may be seeing a "new frugality" settling in among many Americans.

Here’s my question to you: Is spending less a new reality for your family?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Don from Toledo, Ohio writes:
Both my wife and I worked and we ate out quite a bit. She lost her job, so no more of that. We recently took an overnight trip for relaxation. Cheap motel, eating at discount restaurants and taking advantage of every discount available. Didn't use one credit card and still had fun. Hope this is a life style we can stick with.

Sandy from Arkansas writes:
The true reality for most of us is that most necessities cost more these days and yet our paycheck has not gone up. Therefore, we are not spending less, we are just getting less for what we spend. I have not had a raise in almost 4 years and don't anticipate getting one. The old saying, "my take home pay won't take me home" is beginning to ring true.

P.J. writes:
No. Responsible Americans have spent within their means for years. We don't buy just for the heck of it and don't let fads rule our lives. Material possessions don't control us and we actually have money to enjoy an occasional "treat."

M.K. writes:
I am trying desperately to save each month. It is slow going. I now realize my relationship with money was not as solid as I had thought.

Steven writes:
"Spending less" has become more of a mantra than a reality. Every last expense has been re-examined and re-evaluated, no matter how trivial. Eating out has become a thing of the past and we are now content to buy generic-brand food. The term "discretionary spending" is now considered foul language. Groceries, gas, education – and hunkering down, are the order of the day.

Mari from Salt Lake City, Utah writes:
Nope, we have always lived within our means and budget. We do not worry; we have followed the financial rule of having 8 months of our salary in our regular savings account for a rainy day.

Mac writes:
Welcome to the new trend! Forget losing weight or plastic surgery, it’s all about who can spend the least amount of money at the grocery store!

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Corina

    It's about time people woke up. America is the land of abundance, but it used to make me sick watching people WASTE money. I think this recession is a good lesson for our generation, which is obsessed with having 'stuff', which is usually junk. I'm glad to see people finally coming to their senses.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: You could say that spending less is a new reality of life-–especially when you don't have a job.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  3. Tony from Torrington

    It is in our house.

    With all the spending that the government is doing, using our taxes to do so, it's only a matter of time before we won't have ANY money to spend.

    But that's OK. President Obama is going to take money from YOU Jack, and other rich people, and give it to me and my family, the financially challenged. Spreading the wealth Jack....I'm waiting!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  4. Jamal Saint Petersburg, FL

    It had been before this crisis hit mainstream America, and now that it has, I don't see a sharp change in my life. But woe to America.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  5. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    We have tried not to impuse buy as much as we did, but we haven't put ourselves on a restrictive budget either. If we need it, we buy it. If we don't need it right now, it can wait for a few months.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    How could it be anything else? As a retiree my income does not even keep up with inflation. Rising fuel costs were the justification for huge increases in prices recently but now that they have fallen those prices have stayed at the same levels. Some sanity will have to enter the equation soon or we all will be filing for bankruptcy.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Beverly Kurtin, Ph.D. Hurst TX

    We've always watched our money because we don't have all that much after investments crashed and burned. We're buying more in bulk and baking our own bread and have cut way back on eating out.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  8. Ron in Ohio

    There are pluses to having hard times every so often as the current recession. It reminds us about what is valuabe. We consumers buy too much unnecessary items putting us into debt, polluting the planet and making our lives superficial. Capitalism is based on comsumption, but it can shift to sound consumption instead of keeping Chinese factories busy.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  9. mitchell, arkansas

    no. not really. the stimilus that just passed will allow the 2 disabled kids, i take care of, to receive $250 each, next month, and the tax cuts and stimilus check I received has kept us above water, so far. However, we still live frugally, month to month, but, at least we are maintaining a stable household and making our bills, for now.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  10. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - We've been trying to spend less since the economic downturn, but time doesn't stand still even for a serious recession - as the saying
    goes, "When it rains, it pours" - does anyone have an umbrella we could

    April 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  11. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    I like how a "new frugality" is framed like it is a bad thing. the problem with Americans is they have a short memory. Once the economy turns around people will go around running up credit cards, pulling equity out of their houses and, in general, spending money they don't have. We lived with a negative savings rate for years, so a lot of that economic growth we had was misleading and unsustainable. An entire generation of consumers needs to learn to not spend tomorrow's money today and the virtue of saving for a rainy day.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Chryssa

    I'm single with no kids and just recently started spending again. I held onto my money out of fear after a layoff last fall, and even though I found a new job right away, I couldn't bring myself to spend anything until recently. Now I gotta sign off or I might lose this job!

    Boise, ID

    April 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  13. nora CC TXAS

    I think it is a reality for everyone. Everytime I go out to eat I notice the prices keep going up, so I have just about cut out going out to eat. Food prices, same thing, up,up,up!!!People are changing the way they live and spend, good for them, good for us!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  14. Jane (Minnesota)

    I haven't changed my habits a lot. I'm not one to run up my credit cards in the first place and have for the most part watched for bargains.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Steve Copeland

    Yeah, I'm spending less, but that's in part to a job downgrade. And I work for at&t and their trying to lower my standard of living even farther despite making almost 13 billion dollars last year. Go figure.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  16. CM Willenborg

    Yes, we the people spend less as the government spends more. Wake up people-

    April 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  17. Matt

    Yes and the federal government should do the same!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  18. Ashley

    I am! And it is so refreshing! I believe that the trend of ultra consumerism is a thing of the past!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  19. Charles Illinois

    Absolutely Jack! Being unemployed for mos & mos changes your priorities and your entire way of living and grocery shopping, etc etc. The good thing is I have never been a extravangan person in the first place so not having filet Mignon or Lobster is no hardship for me because I'm never had them in the first place. JOBS JOBS JOBS!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  20. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    Absolutely Jack. I'm a 62 year old widow with a very small business. I've been hit in every way. I've lost half of my small investment portfolio, I can't any any money for my business, the banks have lowered my credit limits and as a result they really messed up my credit score and right now I'm worried about Chrysler as my deceased husband retired from Chrysler. The hope I had to enjoy life at this stage is fading fast. I don't go anywhere and I work more to keep my costs down. My employees get less hours so they are affected too. I've never had less spendable income in my entire working life.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  21. Carie

    Spending less has always been a reality for me!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  22. Matthew

    Of course I have to save now, Obama keeps spending all of my money !!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  23. Linda in Arizona

    It has been for years. I hate spending money. I can't stand new things, and will use things I already have until they literally fall apart. I drive an old vehicle, wear clothes I've had for decades, and could care less about the latest electronic gadgets. Come to think of it, my parsimony may have contributed to the current recession, lol.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  24. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Yes, Jack, it is and think it is a good thing.
    We do not realize how much money we waste or squander until
    it is not available.
    And, if it means more home cooked meals, more time spent with
    the family, driving less than there are some positive outcomes.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  25. Mike, High Bridge, NJ

    of course it is, Jack. We're learning the hard way to spend what you have and what you can afford, not spend what you don't have on things you can't afford. Once I save enough for a good rainy day fund I'll spend again, simple as that. It's being responsible.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  26. Howad from Novato, CA

    While my wife and I are okay financially even though we cannot retire until this economic storm passes, we are being more careful with how we spend our money as a way to preserve our resources just in case this economic contraction takes longer to get out of than what the pundits are saying. You know about those pundits!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  27. Ralph Nelson

    No. I understand Keysian economics and know reduced spending and more savings just means deeper recession, so I am trying to spend more to help economy. I suggest the President ask people to spend more, if they can, to revive economy. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  28. Karen C in California

    I'm spending the same way I always have: frugally. What has changed is the attitudes of others. They used to make fun of my careful spending, now they're trying to learn from me.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  29. Paul

    I went from spending about $15 per meal at restaurants every day to $1 TV dinners to try and make ends meet.

    San Antonio, Tx

    April 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  30. Mark S

    You bet my family has cut back. Some would argue that you can take Frugality too far, but I don't think America is at any risk for that.

    One example for my family

    I cut my Cable bill from $90 for digital with DVR to $17 for just basic basic cable. This $17 basic service is not advertised on Comcast's website because they want you to think that the $60 service is the minimum available – so go to your local office in person and ask and you can get it.

    I now enjoy doing other things with my time and I enjoy giving the cable company much less money.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  31. Karen

    I wonder if the survey went so far as to differentiate or quantify "spending" versus buying. I'm definitely spending less than before, but not necessarily buying less. I'm simply much more attuned to waiting for sales, shopping around, using coupons (even shopping for coupons), and making sure I'm getting the absolute best bottom-dollar deal on virtually everything I buy. I'm also inclined to buy things in the used goods and after-market arena more so than I used to. So I'm still inspired (by both need and want) to buy lots of things, but just not spending as much on those same things as I would have, say, 10 years ago.

    Karen – St. Louis, MO

    April 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  32. Brenda R. - Brighton, MI

    Spending less is a relative term. On the essentials, we have to spend much more more because gas prices and other prices rose 15-35% or more during the last 18 months, and you can't do without the essentials (natural gas for heat, electricity, gas for the car, a certain amount of food, medicines, doctor bills). What it means is that there isn't money for the next level of things that are very important – dental bills, paint for the house, clothes to replace our clothes that are now 6 to 10 years old and badly out of date but still wearable, money for new dining room chairs that can no longer be repaired any more, and for a new metal roof since Saturday's Michigan storms ripped ours off and we haven't been able to afford house insurance. Our house, which is paid for with no mortage, has multiple repair needs that can't be addressed adequately. To really cover all the bases at a minimally acceptable level AND save 10% would take 2-1/2 times the wage I make, since my husband has had medical problems and has been out of work for nearly 6 years. Our car is making "funny" noises with 121,000 miles on it at 10 years old, and there is no money to buy another one, let alone fix this one. Is this the "new norm" for us? I certainly hope not - we are one step from disaster every day.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  33. Pugas-AZ

    Being more aware of one's spending habits is probably a better way to put it. A dose of reality once in a while is good for the soul-and the pocketbook.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  34. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    No, Jack. In fact, my husband and I are continuing to do what we have always done – live within our means.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  35. wogs

    yaaa,everything have been cut,home equityline,credit cards and the
    bail out means more jobs cut .we are toasted

    April 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  36. Jason in Canada

    As it ALWAYS should be! This hyper-materialistic way of life is taxing the planet to no end. Why on Earth it became the 'new normal' to buy- buy-buy, have-have-have as the sole meaning of life is just beyond me (but of course it's ALL about greed, and exponential, unfettered 'growth' for growths sake). ALL of us should bring us back to 'normal' and buy what we NEED, everything else is often a luxury, for entertainment, a thing to collect dust....we should try to look at ways to simplify our lives and re-tune to what's truly important in life......I'm paring down and always have tried to live this way, but then again, with that lifestyle, I don't count for much in the eyes of politicians and corporate types, they see us as a strange animal that needs to be convereted to this buying, shop-aholic, materilaistic religion. It's madness!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  37. Angus

    Nope, not a new reality for me. It's been a reality for some time now. We've been saving, tried to stretch our dollar as far as it will go, and buy only what we need for some time now.

    I'd like to take this chance to welcome the rest of America to this reality. We've been expecting you.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  38. John - New York, NY

    Yes, I have to start saving for the future massive increases in taxes that this administration and the previous one will have caused by borrowing from the future to get re-elected.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  39. LDR in Central Texas

    We are still spending the same– living paycheck-to-paycheck– but are getting far less for our money.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  40. cathy white

    we still spend the same on basics, but spending above and beyond our means no longer happens. i look foward to the day when we actually do have money in the bank, and all the credit cards read zero balance due. of course with my husband working less hours, and my job teetering i do not know when that day will come. it is funny really to realize that we were all lied to for years. the only growth that happened during the bush administration was all done on plastice. it was not real growth.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  41. Steve


    I'm not worried about my job so despite my large student loan debt, I live pretty comfortably. I am definitely trying to save a little more but I also find myself balancing that with spending on some of the good deals that exist in this economic climate.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  42. Jason

    I wouldn't say spending "less" will be permanent but I will not be spending money that I don't have. Sorry, Mr. Credit Card.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  43. Roy Tacoma WA

    Here at the low end of the economic spectrum, things have been bad for some time. We had already cut our spending to the bone before the crash.

    Cutting back anymore will mean a choice between needed medicine and food.

    Any suggestions?

    Roy from Tacoma

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  44. Jill

    Yes. I found out I am losing my job May 22. As of right now, I have no prospects after that so I'm saving all I can to ensure I make it through to a new job debt free.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  45. Christina


    My family's spending has decreased a great deal since my husband went on unemployment last year and I went on unemployment this year. To top it off we have had to move my inlaws in due to their health problems and medical expenses. Once we are both bringing in money again, our plan is to increase our savings to insure we are not in this mess EVER in this mess again. I would have never thought I would be in the same financial situation on the day my son graduated from High School as I was the day he was born in 1991.

    Christina in Tampa, FL

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  46. DrFrann in CA

    It's not just spending less, it's spending differently. It's shared community events and shared meals. It's a more communal level of participation with friends and family.

    This is not a bad thing. Perhaps going back to the simpler way of doing life will give us appreciation for what we have. I'm hoping there will be less entitlement and more selflessness.

    DrFrann in CA

    April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  47. Kathy

    Yep. Both my husband and I got "rightsized", so spending less is the name of the game. Even if a bunch of money landed in my lap, it would go straight to savings. Who can trust that their jobs won't be eliminated at the whim of some CEO. The only one looking out for me is me.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  48. John in North Hollywood, CA

    I haven't had a raise in five years while everything went up in price. Everything. I wish I could say "do the math" but it doesn't add up.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  49. Nathan Y

    My family spending is as volatile and unpredictable as the stock market. Last weekend we thought the recession was almost over and we went on a shopping spree. This weekend, with the flu and the new round of banking problems, I really have no idea…

    April 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  50. jack Phoenix, AZ

    It's not that hard. My wife and I have been saving all along for the last 16 years. We have spent minimally, saving $3000-$4000 a month into stock portfolios, cash and treasuries. We paid off our house and car and still have available cash. We don't go on long vacations, only short jaunts. We don;t have big ticket tvs or video games. When we want to spend, we go to Vegas 2-3 times a years and usually break even. If I were a retailer I would be scared, very scared with the new gerneration lacking cash and credit.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  51. Horn Lake, MS

    Until Obama is not our president and we have a Congress that believes that our money is our money and not theirs, we will be forced to spend less. Obama and Congress get out of my wallet.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  52. Tom Jackson from Ontario

    As a Canadian citizen, spending less isn't really an issue for the vast majority of our citizens. This country has no more than thirty-two million people, and we are very benefited in comparison too the American citizens. The government really needed to tax more when they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan so eventually kicked up the yearly defense budget to over 500 billion. Just take a second to think about how much money that is.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  53. Eric Lund

    I have definitely scaled back my spending and have focused more on saving money. The current state of the economy has opened my eyes to the possibility of job loss and I want to be prepared. I've gone from 1 month of expenses in savings to 10 months. That has given me a greater sense of security and peace of mind. The days of spending freely are over. Even after the economy turns around I will continue my new found love of security. I hope others follow suit and change the habits that lead to this meltdown to begin with.

    I'm writing from Atlanta, GA.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  54. Bev - NYC


    I'm spending less and buying on sale for what I need. Before shopping I review what I already own before buying something new.
    I've cut down on clutter, worn clothes discovered in my closet with tags still on them, and donated those "when I lose weight" items all women have in their closet. I am not deprived, and living within a budget has not been terrible. I am not deprived, and living within a budget has not been terrible.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  55. John

    If we're not spending less now, we certainly will in the (very near) future because of the increase in taxes that will be levied on us. Obama will need to increase our taxes to repay all the debt from the money HE'S spending.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  56. Suse

    Yes, spending less is my new reality. I was not a big spender before, but now the norm is staying home almost every night, watching TV and DVDs.....not going out to eat for lunch or dinner more than once a week and, even then, only to lower cost places. This may be helping me to NOT spend, but it is quite depressing and lonely ! Plus, my own cooking is not all that good.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  57. Patrick

    I am 25 years old and have been saving my entire life... it was drilled into my head by my parents to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, so no spending less is not a new reality for me but just business as usual. People in this country have been living beyond their means for far too long and it is finally catching up to Americans. It seems like everyone is losing their house now a days do to improper saving and spending, but I will be becoming a homeowner shortly, thanks to my years of saving and not spending.

    Bethlehem, PA

    April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  58. Kathie

    No Jack, spending less has always been our way of life. There was never any need to "Keep up with the Jones". We always lived with out means. Too bad too many others didn't believe in doing that also.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  59. dan bragg mt. pleasant mi

    I keep making less..therefore i have to spend less...
    p.s. I love your new book

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  60. Tareem Warren

    Yes. i think spending less is a new reality because we can use the left overs for something else like for example gas,and food and if we all spend less i think we could get out of this kind of economy

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  61. Barry Koehler

    Hi Jack,
    Yes, ever since Chase bought Washington Mutual, and then jacked my credit card rate up to 31.99% (yes, that's correct), I'm spending as little as possible to pay these vultures off.

    It sickens me to realize that, in actuality, I'm spending more. I'm spending more to bail these idiots out via taxes, and spending more to pay the "juice" on my credit card debt. La Cosa Nostra would be proud of Chase; in fact, they probably sit on the board. I was late on one payment – and now I pay $192 of interest a month on $7,000 debt (without touching the principal).

    My car is 12 years old now. Luckily, it's a foreign brand, so it's holding up strong, not like it's American counterparts.

    So yes, I'm spending less on myself, and more on the fine folks at the bank and Wall Street.

    Thanks for your time, Jack.

    A loyal reader,
    Barry Koehler
    Chicago, IL

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  62. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Yes, a major reality. We have reduced our spending by about 30% of annual income. We eat out less and stay home rather than travel places.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  63. pat in Dallas


    What you are seeing is a major economic and social shift away from the spend spend spend mentality. We are finally realizing what is really important in life and that's our Family, Friends and Communities. This will change our society for the better.

    Now only if the government would get the message!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  64. Jason

    I do not have a family, but I do have something to add to this. Have you ever heard the saying:

    "What a wise man does in the beginning, fools do in the end"

    I have been saving every penny I could for the past ten years. During that time I watched all of my friends buy new cars, houses, boats, you name it. Now, the economy is in bad shape and I am watching those same friends lose their homes and sell their cars and boats.

    I have just closed on a house. I put 40% down and have a monthly payment that is less than I have been paying on rent at my last apartment. Basically, I have increased my spending and reduced my saving rate in this bad economy. I am one of the statistics that you find surprising.

    Eventually, this nations economy will recover and things will be going full tilt boogie again. At which point, I plan to repeat this process. Once again:

    "What a wise man does in the beginning, fools do in the end"

    April 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  65. Matt (Boston)

    No, still spending just not on credit cards. I never had much to spend in the first place, but if I want something, I get it the old fashioned way save up for it and buy it.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  66. terry grabow

    Yes, this IS our new reality. Economic chaos aside, spend/spend/spend be damned. I am 63, to be 64 this year. I was raised (only child) in a small Texas town by Depression-era parents. Like so many others I created a HUGE lifestyle compared to anything my parents ever imagined. And you know what? I was never happy. I always wanted more. Why should the American Dream equate to consumerism and keeping up with the Jones'??? ME? I want freedom, freedom from economic slavery and debt, freedom from external pressures brought on by my "need" to have, freedom from false guilt about my patriotism. The Best Things In Life ARE Free. Pennies From Heaven do matter. I suspect most Americans will "recover" and go back to the frantic pace again at some point. Not us. This frugality and appreciation for what we have (as opposed to what we don't have) feels normal and right.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  67. Steve

    yes, of course we are all spending less. The only one that's not spending less is Obama.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  68. Jackie in Dallas

    A new reality? Nope, a very old one. I got hit with the recession in 2001 when the telecom industry did a nosedive (without much attendant publicity except here in Dallas-Ft. Worth) and am just now coming out of it. I'm 58 and single, so I don't have nearly as much on my plate as some, but my very modest, VA-backed house nearly got foreclosed twice, and long before this latest panic.

    My suggestions to those just being affected: stop eating out so much, make trips to the Farmer's Market (much cheaper and fresher than grocery stores!), cut down on the hours you spend on your cell phone (your driving might improve, as well), put off buying the latest gadgets, and when you must shop, shop wisely. Buy only what you can afford to buy now with cash, and try to put something away for emergencies.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  69. Alex

    Nope, because no matter the economic situation, college costs way too much to be anything but frugal.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  70. ketan shah

    Simplicity is the necessity for poor but luxury for rich, so to live simple life is most luxurious life in USA but for last 50 years of Media and Marketing mafias has fooled Americans . The results are the best to prove from rotten family life, divorce, single parent, drugs, crime, level of happiness , stressful work , financial status, health and so many socioeconomic conditions of the smart hardworking Americans.

    Unwanted, un necessary and brainwashed buying has destroyed wonderful life on the best part of this planet.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  71. Victoria

    Yes, I think it is a new way to adjust to the financial condition of my house. We have decrease the family spend to what is necessary and essential but not what I want. You knw that money is ahrd to come bye with one person in the family out of job.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  72. Steve

    I find I'm spending less not because of neccesity but, because of finally realizing that the simple things in life really are enjoyable. Reality is home, family and friends. I spend more time at home, in my yard, cooking and inviting friends over. I've reduced my entertaining dollars by over $600.00 a month. You should too!

    Steve, Duluth, GA

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  73. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Spending less is our reality but it is not something new in this household. Economists say the recession started in December 2007. Our recession started in July 2005 when our incomes were reduced. So, spending less has been our routine in this household for some time now.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  74. Army SSG

    Spending less is the story of my life right now....besides the subplot of saving more than I have in the past. Now more than I ever I am realizing that the things I have been spending my money on don't last long enough to be remembered the next month. For example, my weekly dining out at Olive Garden has been replaced with dropping that $75 into my savings account. Knowledge is power.

    FT. Sill, Oklahoma

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  75. PKD, KC

    Good topic. I've begun to monitor my family's expenses more closely using a financial mgmt software, and it's been paying off. I hope this is a lasting trend for us. I know some will say it's un-American to not spend. I read somewhere that the average savings rate for Americans is close to 0% and that for Chinese is 25%. That's just crazy. All this time we've been borrowing from them. I think that was a turning point for me.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  76. Kim - Blair, NE

    Not really, we have always been frugal out of necessity. Too poor to notice much of a change.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  77. Sharon

    As a single woman in her 50's, I'm spending MORE now. I'm buying stocks at low prices. My Ford stock has already doubled.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  78. dave

    It's been that way all my life. Watching and saving pennies living from paycheck to paycheck is a way of life for a lot of us.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  79. Ronda

    We are not spending less...same as last year. Could be because I work for the State of Colorado and my husband works for the Feds. We are not in danger of losing our house. In fact, we have never borrowed on our house and we just refinanced to a lower interest rate and took no money out. We bought a house we could afford and we have no kids. I think that is why we are not changing our lifestyle in this econonmy. We made good choices with our finances and we are still taking vactions and just bought a new truck. Life is good.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  80. R E Cummings

    Spending less has always been a reality for my family, but more importantly, spending WISELY is the key these days. I remember when I didn't have an opportunity to save at all and it hurt me emotionally as well as financially. Now that my children are young adults and working and earning their own money, they have benefitted from watching me shop carefully for as long as they can remember. They are becoming savers and have been wise shoppers and bargain hunters...hope lives!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  81. Neil in New York

    It's the only reality, alas.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  82. mike ca

    Oh yea
    Until things settle down I will watch how much I spend & if it is really necessary.

    Mike CA

    April 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  83. liz

    My family has had to prioritize and to spend within our means. We aren't spending less but when things like losing your second job or when your employer drops group health coverage and your stipend won't get you anything but insurance with a very high deductible, you don't have to chose between spending more or less. You have nothing left to spend.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  84. Some Guy, Atlanta

    We've never really had any money, so this is nothing new. I have been a lot better about clipping coupons and buying store brand products lately. Both of our cars are paid off. That helps. Our TV is now about 15 years old. If anything breaks, I try to fix it before throwing it out and buying a new one. I have put off some medical tests I need because we just can't swing them right now. I haven't taken a weeks vacation since 2004. Just a long weekend here and there. All in all the recession is not that bad for folks like us who are used to getting by on very little. That said, If one of us loses our job, we're sunk. Have a nice day!

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  85. Kristen, Charlotte, NC

    I am definitely spending less, saving more and plan on being frugal and thrifty throughout my lifetime. I guess it's a good thing to not be so wasteful and materialistic. And buying less puts less of a burden on our environment. I'm actually kind of looking forward to the day I see less flashiness among people and more sensibility.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  86. liz

    My family has had to prioritize and to spend within our means. We aren't spending less but when things like losing your second job or when your employer drops group health coverage and your stipend won't get you anything but insurance with a very high deductible, you don't have to chose between spending more or less. You have nothing left to spend.

    Montgomery, AL

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  87. Eric G Zittel

    Spending less is not necessarily my "new reality", but I believe I am spending more judiciously than before. In some cases, it means I spend less; in other cases, it means I spend about the same. On extreme cases (like my spouse's birthday), I have spent more. (Yes, it was judicious as well).

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  88. Charly

    Nope – I never recovered from being laid off in 2001. Ate through my 401K – making 2/3 of my former salary. Welcome to my recession.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  89. Ken, Centrville, VA

    Spending less, maybe not. Borrowing less, absolutely. Since equities will not be providing any return for a while, paying down debt is one of the best investments you can make right now.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  90. K Hughes

    Spending NOTHING is the new reality for our family. Our combined income is down nearly 75% from a year ago. We're currently selling many of our possesions on eBay to make ends meet. Some people are still spending, but not us.
    Sylvania, OH

    April 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  91. Jason

    My spending habits really haven't changed due to the economy. I've always lived within my means and payed my bills on time. I have a steady job, no extravagant loans (car loan, student loans) and really haven't been effected by the recession.

    I'm hoping other people will learn and follow this model. It's worked like a champ for me.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  92. Gloria

    Short answer, No. We have never ever spent beyond our means or on wasteful items. We have always been so frugal that many of our friends thought us odd. We may be odd, but if more people had been like us, simply put, we wouldn't be in this mess. Too many people (especially here in the US) think the world owes them a living and that they are "entitled" to have whatever their heart desires (every new fad or gadget that comes on the market, etc.). This so called crash or recession is nothing more than a "get real" experience. If people can learn from this and then regularly continue to exercise being frugal and less wasteful, we will have this happen less often and with less severity.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  93. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Not yet, cause I am trying to avoid reality.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  94. Valerie Bass

    Yes, I'm spending a lot less these last few months – not because of my own financial troubles but because more of my disposable income is going to assist other family members who have lost their jobs or aren't making it financially.

    Until the economy turns around and my extended family and friends are able to find livable-wage jobs, I'll need to cut back on my own spending to enable me to help the people I care about make it in these tough times.

    Valerie Bass
    Portland, Oregon

    April 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  95. Jose Campos

    Writing from Queens, New York

    My family and I have made several changes to our budget which includes:
    **Dropping our Cable & Phone Provider and subscribing to DIrecTV and T-Mobile @ Home instead,
    **Buying in Bulk from BJ's Wholesale
    **Cutting down on eating out from 4 times a month to one time every month.
    **Renting DVD's from RedBox for $1 instead of going to the movies.
    **Bought a bycicle and ride to the train station instead of driving.

    We realized some expenses we could do without, and those we could not we were able to find less expensive alternatives.

    Thank you,
    Jose Campos

    April 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  96. Mary, Texas


    In our household we are spending less. But, we are saving more. I find that we were buying unnecessary things and it feels so good to have that money in our savings account.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  97. Linda K.

    Spending less is definitely part of our family culture. Just ask my 13-year old. Whenever he asks for a new gadget, the first thing I say is we need to be careful. My older kids are staying with their part-time jobs, even if the jobs aren't ideal, because they know how hard it is to find something. We raised six kids, some of them teenagers, during the 90s and we've always been frugal. But this year has seen a new tightening of our belts.

    Lexington, Kentucky

    April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  98. Dan

    My wife and I have been fortunate during the recession since my job is solid. We still try to be frugal and save as much as we can , just in case there is a downturn. It looks like we're all moving forward with Obama at the helm. I know the economy is starting to bounce back thanks to Barack. What a great President.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  99. Sammie in Valparaiso, IN

    Even before this recession I was always frugal, saving over 1/3 of my gross for retirement, maintaining an emergency fund, owning a house well within my budget, never living "high". Friends and coworkers used to call me cheap. Now, they are trying to emulate the same lifestyle and spending practices that I have been practicing for years. I am no longer cheap; I am now in style!

    However, I don't believe that this forced "frugality" will continue once everything returns to "normal". Americans are creatures of habit, and as long as they yearn for that flat screen HDTV or the high-end car, they will eventually break down and buy it. In the long run, I don't believe that the retailers will have much to worry about.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  100. Beth A.

    Yes!!!! From a Las Vegas local– We used to alot several hundred dollars a month to gamble with. Now, unless they are giving us "freebies", we just don't go. Guess that's why I am a laid off Vegas "strip" casino table games dealer. $415 a week unemployment for 57 weeks. Never thought that I would see the Great Depression in Las Vegas.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  101. Mariel

    I usually opted for the less expensive option in the past, but now I'm trying to avoid unnecessary spending altogether. I have closets and drawers and boxes full of "free" items to choose from – items I purchased long ago – and no real need to add more. If one good thing comes from these difficult times, I think people may find satisfaction in what they already have.

    April 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  102. Ron

    Since my wife lost her job due to OUTSOURCING to another country, we have definitely been spending less – a lot less. Along with the other 14 million unemployed persons in the good 'ol USA.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  103. Kevin in Alabama

    Americans have gotten spoiled over the last 20 years. They want their big screen TV's and expensive cars without the income to support it, The buy now pay later attitude has finally caught up with us. It is time to pay the piper.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  104. Mary

    Jack, we absolutely are spending less money. In fact, if an item considered for purchase is not a necessity, we are no longer buying. I just paid to have my seven year old washer/dryer fixed, rather than buy new ones, as I would have a few years ago. In addition, we are driving two older model cars that have each have 100,000 plus miles on them, and plan to do so until they can no longer be repaired.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  105. Anna Anderson

    Garden Grove, CA. Our small family of four is absolutely spending less. We have changed the food we buy and where we buy it. Our entertainment is usually at a park with our young children. We spend more time together as a family, for me and my husband we have had a new appreciation for our family and what family means. Even with the stress of living month to month, we have been given a chance to see what is really important to us. It's not the stuff that makes us most happy, it's spending time together and loving each other and the simple, free, things in life.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  106. Marc

    Can't spend it if you don't have it!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  107. Anne

    Spending is relative to one's confidence in the economy and how secure your job is. I'm spending less now but I'm quite sure that once the economy gets stronger and I feel more confident that I'll still have a job in 6 months that I'll start spending more. I would imagine I won't be alone; people will have pent up demand and, let's face it, many will go back to the "I deserve it" mode once confidence & money come back.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  108. John from Long Island

    You betcha. So is trying to pay off all our credit cards and then cut them in half once they are at zero.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  109. Greg

    Definitely spending less these days. All in all this is a very good thing. We have become a culture consumed with moving dollars from one wallet to another by purchasing goods and services that we really don't need and then killing ourselves to pay for it.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  110. Cyle in Dublin

    Nope – an old reality.

    I grew up with a single working mom, so no extravagant spending.
    I had to fund college on my own and raised 2 kids with my wife in CA.

    Funny enough my wife and I are actually able to spend a bit more now that the kids are on their own.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  111. Missy M

    Absolutely not. I've always been frugal so this economic downturn has had little effect on me. I make my own laundry detergent, hair spray, dishwasher detergent and other things to be environmentally conscious as well as to save money. I buy things in bulk when they're on sale and I save money religiously. I also teach my kids not to spend money unnecessarily. If more people lived a frugal lifestyle, maybe the country would be in better shape right now.

    Missy M. Phoenix, Arizona

    April 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  112. Yared

    Jack, anyone who says that it's not the new reality has too much money to notice what is going on. I live in a household with an income of over $250K and live within our means and still don't have "extra" money to spend. I don't know what is real anymore! But let's not forget, Americans have short memories and we will be spending again once the credit card companies are silly enough to loan it to us again.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  113. Donna

    My family is spending less by choice. Although we are in good standing with our credit card company and make payments on time, when the credit markets froze up, our credit card company lowered our limit. We are making the conscious choice to spend less, pay off our debt, and cancel our card, so as to not be at the mercy of a credit card company ever again!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  114. Bill Riley - Carmel, N.Y.

    No – it's the same old reality to me. For my 53 years I have worked hard, lived within my means, saved a nest egg and have not over spent like the sky is falling and the world is coming to an end tomorrow – like most of the people who seemed to have brought us to the edge of this economic quaqmire that we find ourselves in.
    It just annoys me to no end that will I played by the rules I seem to be getting flushed down the same bowl as the Chicken Little's of this country. Where does it all end?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  115. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    A new reality? Nope, a very old one. I got hit with the recession in 2001 when the telecom industry did a nosedive (without much attendant publicity except here in Dallas-Ft. Worth) and am just now coming out of it. I’m 58 and single, so I don’t have nearly as much on my plate as some, but my very modest, VA-backed house nearly got foreclosed twice, and long before this latest panic.

    My suggestions to those just being affected: stop eating out so much, make trips to the Farmer’s Market (much cheaper and fresher than grocery stores!), cut down on the hours you spend on your cell phone (your driving might improve, as well), put off buying the latest gadgets, and when you must shop, shop wisely. Buy only what you can afford to buy now with cash, and try to put something away for emergencies.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  116. Kate Barker

    Absolutely! I have worked very hard in the last six months to pay off our credit cards and pay off the mortgage early. To accomplish this I have made extremely thoughtful purchases. I ask myself if it's something I need first then I give myself the "do I like it or do I REALLY like it" test. Everything I buy I tell myself I am committing to use it up to it's fullest!!! I have focused on repairing rather than replacing and have tried not to waste food by letting it go bad or overstocking on perishables. I'm trying to focus on experiences rather than on things. It's a challenge for this baby boomer to be more of a citizen and less of a consumer but it's worth it! Grand Rapids Michigan

    April 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  117. Gus

    Spend less? Hell no – I am following the government's lead and I am spending like a drunken sailor and I will leave the debt for someone else to pay – another lesson from the administration!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  118. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Nope...... we have always lived within our means and budget. We do not worry, we have followed the financial rule of having 8 months of our salary in our regular savings account...... for a rainy day.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  119. Lucky

    we are spending more. i am one of those rare wives who doesn't want a brand new kitchen – i think we need to be saving money right now – but my husband is adamant about the project – so we're spending money!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  120. Eleanor / Phoenix AZ

    Saving money on essentials has become the norm in our home. Things like shampoo and food items are now being chosen by price and if there is a coupon. Keeping to the list when shopping is the only way to shop.Only items for the children like shoes are added when needed...still, then it is at Walmart and they better be under $14!
    Many of us girls are handing clothes around. My children grow out of clothes then they get passed on to a friend with children that can use them. We have all become very aware of prices and if it is essential. Our children are being taught "do you really need that?" and most of the time it is no.
    I hope that this is a lesson learnt and not a fleeting moment that when the recession recovers everyone runs back out and spends, spends, spends!
    I know I have learnt..no more expensive designer shoes or clothes in the future unless the are deeply, deeply discounted and we really think twice about purchases now.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  121. Marc L- West Nyack,NY

    Yes it is. That's life, Jack. We can't have it good all the time. It takes tough times to appreciate the good one's.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  122. jeff in Lewisville, TX

    Yes Jack,
    I am spending less and feel quite relieved to be doing so.
    Now, how my wife is going to take to spending less is what scares me!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  123. John

    Sure is...i dont even have cable because of this economy, so i wont even be able to see you read my comment on tv....thanks in advance though

    April 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  124. PJG

    No. Responsible Americans have spent within their means for years. We don't buy just for the heck of it and don't let fads rule our lives. Material possessions don't control us and we actually have money to enjoy an occasional "treat".

    April 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  125. Steven Mills

    "Spending less" has become more of a mantra than a reality. Every last expense has been re-examined and re-evaluated, no matter how trivial. Eating out has become a thing of the past and we are now content to buy generic-brand food, plastic shoes and fluorescent light bulbs. The term "discretionary spending" is now considered foul language. Groceries, gas, education – and hunkering down, are the order of the day.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  126. Paul in Boise

    I was already spending less and saving more. But reductions in hours is forcing even less spending.

    This year's garden will be bigger. I won't be taking a vacation, I'll be having a 'staycation'. But the quality of my life continues to be very good.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  127. Stephen Fox

    No. In fact, I find myself spending more–perhaps something every able person could do, despite the ongoing financial crunch. It might offset what will otherwise be a more trying time regarding the economy, if more money is circulating.

    Panama City, Florida

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  128. phil fitz

    Sir you are out of touch, what about 11% or so unemployed! people like me who were once “middle class” and now “unemployed” indefinitely “spending less” is not a choice it’s a reality! Unemployment check doesn’t go too far!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  129. Connie

    We have been spending less for years due to the economy–as a middle class American, the recession isn't new. The only difference now is that it has hit the upperclass.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  130. Danny, Kentucky

    No Jack, when I want to buy something I go and buy it. But we need to wake up. We are losing jobs everday cause of cheap goods. You know where to get them. Why do we not buy AMERICAN MADE? I buy AMERICAN MADE when I can. We are going to wake up someday and there will not be any cars or other things that we built our nation on. Because we got to buy CHEAP MADE from other nations. Remember CHEAP is not always better. You could lose your JOB.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  131. John MacDaniel, Huntsville AL

    In the ever diminished value of the dollar, there is nothing a senior citizen can do but cut back – and sometimes – just do without.

    Thank you George Bush and Dick Cheney – you have brought back the great depression – and you do not even care.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  132. Mark from Louisiana

    After most of my retirement funds dropped by 40% when the stock market went down I do watch what I spend. I guess I should have been a union auto worker I see that Obama is making sure they get their full retirements even if the car companies go bankrupt. What about the rest of us?
    And speaking of spending, how much did it cost the taxpayers for the photo op in New York with Air Force One?????????

    April 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  133. Eric - Georgia

    We are trying to spend less and save more. At this point, it is best to only get necessities until you can see a little better what the future holds in terms of the economy and unemployment. Kevin in Alabama is correct in saying that many Americans outspent their incomes and pay backs are always hell.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  134. anne

    spending less generally means accumulating less. the less stuff you have the less time you have to spend managing it...cleaning it, keeping it organized.... who wants to spend their time managing stuff? not me.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  135. Marietta

    Yes! wealthy tempt us to buy their products..and banks give us the credit cards to do it..more temptation–rich get richer..no more..saving first..materialism does not make me happy.. beware of idols....we were warned..in holy scripture..

    April 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  136. Jnfr in Colorado

    Yes, to some degree. We haven't been hit as hard as some, but we're feeling cautious because it's so uncertain what could still happen.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  137. Janet Guerrero

    I'm enjoying the "new frugality" no matter how much Washington wants to convince us to buy more junk from China and not save a penny.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  138. The Ghost of Abe


    What money?


    Broke American/Jobless Teacher

    April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  139. Dicky Neely

    Hi Jack,
    Spending less money is ceretainly not my "new norm!" It is my old "has been that way for a long time!" norm.
    Dicky Neely
    Corpus Christi, Tx.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  140. Darrell in Iowa

    I am not spending less, I am just spending it differently. Health care expenses not covered by insurance are eating up any potential savings I might have had.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  141. John K

    Jack ......... I must be spending less. My Visa was stolen and I have not reported it as of yet, whoever has it is spending far less than my wife ever did.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  142. Matt in Los Angeles

    I only began spending less this week as I'm saving up for a stockpile of Tamiflu.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  143. Gregg

    No, spending is not a new reality. We live within our means consistently, which seems to be out of the norm in today's society. It is also one of the reasons we count ourselves fortunate to not be in a domestic financial crisis.

    Greg from VT

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  144. Nancy, Tennessee

    When the prices went up last year at about the same time gas was through the roof, I have had to spend more just to buy the essentials. There was a noticeable increase in the cost of food, household essentials such as tissue paper, and everything else. On top of that we live in the Tennessee Valley Authority area and they decided to put a 20% increase onto the cost of our electricity. Yes, I'm spending more, but not on luxury items.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  145. Michael Buck

    Most definitely. For far too long we have been encouraged to spend money on a bunch of junk that we don't need, and we as a nation have fallen for it hook, line & sinker. Maybe this time Americans will learn that "things" do not make you happy!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  146. John R (Gaithersburg, Maryland)

    Yes, spending less is the "new normal" for me and my family. I always had a queasy feeling around every Christmas holiday, knowing that it would take me two to three months to pay off Christmas gifts. What we as a nation were doing, spending like there was no tomorrow, wasn't sustainable. The silver lining is that we now have a a tomorrow, and that can't be all that bad.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  147. Thomas


    Spending less has been a reality for my family since before I was born... As a young black man in America I've always tried to explain to any who would listen that America has a racial problem but class warfare is more of an issue. While I don't think social programs alone can resolve the issue, I'm glad they were in place to help my mother on days when we had a stick of butter and some water in the fridge to feed 5 kids. We need to have a combination of social programs, better public education, and job training for the next generation of industry in order to get everyone off the ground...

    I know your question was about the general population but I sorry, I don't know what it's like to be "well off" one day and broke the next. I'm looking forward to the "well off" part.

    One of my favorite jokes Jack... "We were so poor, if someone robbed us, they would just be practicing."

    April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  148. David


    Let me see – two kids in college – maxed out on credit cards – food prices up and I am not working – I am not only saving less – but spending all of the savings I did have!

    Thanks George!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  149. Siobhan Heady

    Yes. I used to make $4000 per month, now on unemployment, I get $1500 per month. Spending less isn't a matter of convenience, it's survival. You have no choice when your rent is $950 per month. My question is ... where are all those green jobs for Michigan????

    Thanks Jack,
    Siobhan H

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  150. David A Whitaker

    Hey Jack if I spend any less, I have to on water and oats.


    Martinsburg, WV

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  151. Chuck in Glen Ellyn, IL

    Yes...we've cut big expenditures to save more. Our savings will provide us a hedge against a layoff or the option to buy into the market when it recovers.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  152. Dan B

    America's economy has been driven by our addiction to consumerism, this is one of the reasons that led us to inflation. I really hope this time around that people learn to spend there money on what is important instead of what is just luxury, spending less and saving is a great way to start.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  153. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    Yes Jack it is. Since loosing so much from my 401k plan, banks raising interest rates on credit cards, health care a big issue if you loose your job and expenses going up faster than my paycheck it makes sense that we will need to change our spending habits. The economy will take time to rebound and we still don't know when companies will stop laying off. Healthcare reform may become an issue as well. This day and age it takes all I have to maintain and keep what I have worked so hard for and if it takes keeping the car longer or wearing last years fashion...so be it.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  154. Mike St. Louis

    Jack, changing spending habits just because of a recession is the wrong idea. Americans decades-long habits of borrowing and spending and luxuries is part of the reason why we got into this recession in the first place. If Americans are changing their habits now, that is good however, they should NOT change their habits back once the recession lets up. Ask the people who saved money instead of lavishly spending it how glad they are that they did so.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  155. Wally

    I have seen the light! After years of living somewhat beyond my means, I have decided to change my ways. Even though my house, car, and a few other assets are paid for, I had way more credit card debt than I should have had. I have cut expenses dramatically and I'm paying those dang credit cards off. From now on it's "pay as you go". For one thing, I'll be able to enjoy the $7K/year interest that I WAS paying to the banks.

    Youngstown, OH

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  156. Liz in Los Angeles, CA

    I'm uncommonly frugal (frugal does NOT mean cheap!!) so things aren't all that different for me. Less eating out, sure, but I love to cook, so that's no big deal one way or another. But we do cut paper napkins in half these days (unless we're eating HOMEMADE pizza).

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  157. Dave from Florida

    Jack, I grew up in the 90's in a family that didn't even spend out for cable tv. I can honestly say I got used to being made fun of as a kid for not having the latest toys and clothes. But ya know what the latest and toys are here in college Jack? Plasma TV's and Xbox 360's. I don't regret my upbringing one bit for the simple fact that today while alot of people are reeling in the spending, I'm living happily like I've always been with my $100 laptop.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  158. Mike in Indiana

    With no raises for me since 2006 and an actual reduction in pay for my wife, we started cutting back on spending in 2007. Now that I'm layed off, we'll obviously be spending even less. Cut backs are as follows:
    Eating out.
    Eating meat.
    Grocery shopping at discount stores.
    Going to concerts.
    Swapping plants instead of ging to nurseries.
    Driving slower.
    Lower cost pet treats, still buying super-premium pet food.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  159. Bill

    We both are now laid off, go figure.
    There are no frills at all for us. Just the basics. Just to somehow onto our homestead (not up-side down).

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  160. dan mt. pleasant mi

    it's simple...I make less..therefore I spend less...when I make more I will go back to spending more....

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  161. lucferris

    My family has started making a game out of saving money. For example, we like to see how much we can save at the grocer with sales and coupons. But, the bottom line, Jack: when a family make less money, that family spends less money. So, yes, my family spends less money.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  162. Mkmynamanhattan

    I am trying desperately to save each month. It is slow going. I now realize my relationship with money was not as solid as I had thought.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  163. Deb

    No frills, no thrills here. Survival's the name of the game.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  164. Bill

    Hey Jack,

    It seems we all have to tighten our belts and spend less, but is it OK for the government to continue their out of control spending? I guess they feel it is OK to spend like crooks since it isn't their money. I don't believe this is the kind of change we voted for.

    O B A M A
    One Big Astounding Mistake America

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  165. Danny

    My family will certainly be saving more. The sum of all investments in an economy is by definition equal to the savings of participants in that economy. Look at the rapid growth in China and other asian nations who historically have very high savings rates. This implies that saving more will not only help my family, but will also help lead the country out of the current economic mess.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Michael D. , San Antonio, TX

    Spending more is the reality that I am seeing. Inflation is still very much alive. Taxes seem to keep going up. Salaries seem to fall or stay the same. And all the while the American Dollar is virtually worthless. So what's the real difference between spending less and more? I beleive it's the level of denial each of us chooses to live in.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  167. Karl from SF, CA

    Not really. I’m stimulating the economy as much as I can. Unlike the wealthy with those fancy tax breaks, all of my disposable income gets disposed of. It’s called the bare necessities.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  168. Cody NJ

    Yep. We have slowly been cutting down on extra stuff such as grocery shopping and even going out to dinner on the weekends. A penny saved is a dollar earned.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  169. Marilyn

    We will be turning 70 in may. We are spending on home maintenance but, conserving in other areas like eating out movies and such. We paid off all our credit cards and are now concentrating on saving and we like the feeling.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  170. JoAnn C in San Diego CA

    Jack, I find I am now thinking about every purchase I make. Do we really need it? Before I would just buy and not second guess everything. I am fearful things can get worse and try to use better judgement as I wonder what it will be like a year from now and feel we'll really need more money to fall back on. Hardest hit are my kids and grandkids. I am a really generous person and it's hard to change into a penny-pincher. I don't like it!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  171. Matt

    Spend Less? What kind of question is that? Of course my family is spending less. With no jobs out in the world and rent near astronomical levels, what choice do Americans have. I wish the government would give stimulus dollars directly to American families instead of giving the dollars to Banks. Banks are rich enough, however, American families are feeling the brunt of this recession. Is our government advocates for American families or Corporate America. I think the answer to this question is easily answered by looking how our government is reacting to this recession.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Sonoitadcw

    No new reality for me Jack. Gas is less than half what it was last summer and I am in the process of refinancing my house to lower my PITI by $200/month. Thinking about buying a 2009 BMW 328i or a new Victory motorcycle. Life is good!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  173. J NC

    This is not a new reality to my family. When I was brought up, there wasnt much money so we conserved. I've got it a lot better as an adult but I still used these technics today so when the economy went south, everybody started talking about rationing but ive always done it. Nothing new to me!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  174. jeff reynolds

    heck no Jack, I'm doing my part to stimulate this economy, we purchased a bank-repo in dec. 2008 had all new floors put in hired a guy to fix the fence hired a guy to put all new lights in, bought $500 in paint , just bought a new grill, and next week we will finish remodeling the pool, we done all that with the tax credit we got for buying a house, hows that for stimulis?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Bob

    Not spending less, just getting a lot less for the money I spend.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  176. Mary

    We are definitely spending less as we have less to spend!
    My husband has been laid off for a year. The auto plant he worked at in Syracuse NY is closing. I am self-employed and my income is variable while our bills are constant! Our daughter and boyfriend moved in and we have split up our large house and are renting it to them at a nominal cost .
    We have nothing left over to spend, are not ordering out and are trying not to go into town to save on gas. I buy groceries twice a month at a no frills grocery store. Its hard to make do with less but we are taking it one day at a time hoping no one gets sick as we have no health insurance!

    Union Springs, NY

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  177. John in Chicago

    I went from spending money like no tomorrow to living below 10% of my means in one year. The outcome:

    No credit card debt.

    Car paid off.

    No debt period (except mortgage).

    It was hard but worth it now that I owe nothing to no one. You really do feel free.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  178. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Actually Jack,I,m spending more. We are helping our son and his young family. His place of employment closed on Dec.30. Our grandchildren needed summer clothes,new shoes, food,etc. Someone has to help so we are cutting back on our own spending to help our family.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  179. Jerry

    Yes, we will spend less! Alot less! Because we have less to spend!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  180. Jon T.

    I'm maintaining the lifestyle I've always had and haven't reduced spending. I don't use credit cards, don't have a house nor do I want one in this economy and don't have or want a family. I have more money than I've ever had and don't spend it foolishly. Life is good.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  181. Jeri - California

    Of course, but if I'm honest I would certainly spend more than my "current reality" if I were to attain my nice 6 figure salary with benefits I enjoyed not so long ago. I will continue to make sure my spending stays in line with my earning level, whatever that turns out to be for now and in the future.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  182. Molly Storme

    Our whole lives are turned upside down, with my husband and I both freelancers (with no work) and so not allowed to take unemployment. We have canceled our health insurance and everything extra, including fixing cars that need it. Making only minimum payments on C Cards, and then being punished by those companies with higher APRs. It's back to mac and cheese and hoping for no health problems.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  183. Maria Mar.

    Yes. I started being very frugal with my money when the gas was at its highest but the practice stayed with me and i have been able to build up security money i really like the sense of safety it gives me even tho currently that prices are low. Every little bit helps!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  184. Hernan in Richmond, VA

    My family is definely spending less, because people are earning less wages that's why Jack. For too long Jack, too many people are working harder for less, especially in the south where people live and work hard, but not enough for low income families who are struggling right now.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  185. Kim from Denver

    Spending less has always been a reality for me, as frugality is somewhere in my DNA. However, after losing my job last summer, my family has been finding out the REAL meaning of frugal, if not downright cheap! We have tightened our belts to the last notch and it hurts. In all honesty, I am annoying myself with all these money concerns, so I can only imagine how much they are annoyed with me (sorry gang). Can't wait to shop again (not retail of course, only discount and sale items).

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  186. Jerry La Roe

    No Jack; we are spending a lot more, just getting a hell of a lot less.When you are on a fixwd income like us thats just plain bad news.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  187. Dianne

    Fortunate to have a comfortable retirement. Spending about the same as when I was working.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  188. Adela Johnson

    YES, but my parents were great role models because they grew up in the depression and taught me how to live on less. I past this info on to our 5 children (adults) who also know how to live on basic foods, goods, and lifestyle. Not so hard but different. You know the old saying, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Or, "If you are on your last rope, tie another knot and swing!"

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  189. Peter in Minnesota

    I have found over the years that one can be relatively frugal and live quite a nice style of life. I've wondered how long the manufacturing and buying of more and more stuff could go on. Needs and wants have become confused. Resources have been squandered and greedy materialism has driven people to the point of financial ruin. Did that quest for all that stuff make them happy as they thought it would? Perhaps more people will discover anew that frugal living can be quite appealing and satisfying.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  190. Tony IL

    Well, being unemployed has a tendency to do that to you. When your unemployment check amounts to less than half of what you was bringing home, you don't really have a choice. I filed my taxes, paid off credit cards, and still feel like I am on sinking ship. Iv'e been out of work since Nov. 08 and with jobs being hard to come by, it is only going to get worse. Jack, throw me an Obama lifesaver.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  191. ann culpepper

    I think this stage of frugality is very good for the American people. We have been a disgusting consumerist bunch of people. My family actually loves our new lifestyle of getting only what we need, not everything that we want. This is a market correction for the public. We will NEVER go back to our old ways! Memphis.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  192. Richard Knight

    I'm a retired teacher in Washington State and you bet I'm spending less of my pension and social security dollars.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  193. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Yes it is Jack, I only go to the Supermarket once a week, so i'm eating more "Leftovers" for dinner everynight.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  194. Linda

    Put it like this....3 years ago our family of four was living on $350,000. We now live on $80,000. Spending less? I'd say we are definetly spending less. But hey, we are a happy family...come what may.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  195. June

    Yes, I am trying to spend less these days. Now, if I could just convince
    my husband. We're both retired and our income (other than Social
    Security) is less now than it was two years ago. We may both need
    to find part time work which, believe me, I do not relish at age 67.
    He's 74. I'm the trophy bride.

    Tulsa OK

    April 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  196. John Reinking

    Jack, I don't think it's so much a question of spending less (excepting those who have no choice) but of spending less on many unneeded things: bigger vehicles, fancy vacations, out of balance homes, private schools etc.

    It seems to me that what is happening is many are discovering the frugality of our parents wasn't a bad thing; that money is a valuable limited resource deserves our spending it prudently.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  197. Andrew M Thomas

    I have been laid of since oct, along with my roommate. In Debt to pay off college, I have no money to spend. I am lucky enough to relay on family for help. But What about the rest of my Post college grads.. some of these are government loans

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  198. Anthony..Swedesboro, NJ

    It's not rocket science, Jack. I'm retired with a comfortable nest egg not affected by the market downturn. However, my creditors are constantly lowering my credit status and my expenses are soaring. I won't starve and have all that I need, but my days of buying every gadget on the market are over. I'm now laying low and my wife is buying less shoes. I never thought we would be in a situation where we would have to watch every dollar in this time and age.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  199. Leticia, Orange Park, Florida

    Yes, I am trying to sacrafice and save more but it's hard because, unforntunately, I am a hairstylist and my clients are trying to save more money than ever before too. If people keep cutting corners instead of thier hair, I'm going to be broke. So please, America, keep getting your hair done, my savings account depends on it!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  200. Elizabeth Gracen

    Hello Jack,

    My family is spending more than ever. Our financial picture has not changed, (other than loss of stock value) only one of five business has seen a bit of a down turn due to losing two warehouse tenants. With two sons at University, (one of which took two of his horses with him, we now have to pay for their board), our spending has increased, airfare for visits, a new car for one, books, books, books (I do wonder if they even use those very expensive items). I still shop!


    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  201. Teresa

    We are trying to spend less. After paying down our mortgage, refinancing, and paying off our credit cards, we are trying to use cash and not buy what we don't need. We could afford to spend more but would rather save in case more jobs are lost. We have to rebuild our IRAs and investments, and really, who needs to buy all that junk anyhow? I sell our old stuff on ebay to recycle and get a few bucks back. I recommend it!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  202. Joanna

    I have always been a saver. It never made sense for me when I hear people spend more than they can afford. If you can't "afford" to be like your friends and they belittle you about it, you need to find new friends.

    If everyone followed the, spend only what you have and save a little bit of what you earn, we wouldn't be in this economic crisis right now.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  203. JJ

    I am 48 years old and have maintained a 25 percent savings rate, on my gross income, since my first job when I was 15 years old. That is why now, even after the fall in the stock market and housing values my net worth is equal to 18 years of my current net income. My house is paid off, no car loan, retirement house is 7 years for being paid off. Oh I do take a 3 week vacation each year in Europe, and no I'm not cutting back on my spending.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  204. Patrick, Austin, TX

    Absolutely! Prior to the recession, I bought alot of stuff I did not need. I used to be a DVD-aholic and rarely cooked at home. I have found that most of my spending was wasteful and self indulgent. Instead of buying every new DVD, I rent one or two a month. I cook most of my meals at home, and rarely go out to eat. Before purchasing an item, I take at least one day to consider the purchase. If I really need it, then I can go back for it. Life has become alot less complicated and relaxing as a result of my liberation from materialistic needs.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  205. John

    Jack: The level of spending we were doing as Americans prior to the recession was simply unsustainable. People were spending more than they earned and personal debt was skyrocketing as were bankruptcies. No one had savings. Our economy must not be built on this unrealistic spending. We weren't saving for our retirements let alone to survive 6 months of unemployment and still be able to keep our homes. Many of us have lost our pensions and our retirement funds have been devastated because our 401K plans are based on stocks. We must start saving more. For many of us, this is a correction in our habits that was long since overdue. It is an opportunity for us to rebuild the economy on a basis that is sustainable: green energy, education, transportation projects, available, affordable, healthcare

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  206. pete at the beach

    Save 20% of your income, dont buy what you cant afford–if you all had been doing this there would be no recess.. er depression. Stay on your own side of the fence (ie dont invade) help the poor, sick and elderly, and throw you picture of Reagan in the trash.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  207. patricia

    No, spending less is not a new reality for my family (my husband & I). Even when our child was still living with us, we were always the type to "bank $$" if we could and "spend $$" on what we needed. If we only "wanted" something, we would think about it while we saved for it. Then, when we had the $$, we usually found we didn't really want it. The only time we "splurged" was around Christmas time ... and then, we usually bought the big things that we actually needed.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  208. Don in Toledo

    Spending less? I hope to shout! Recently took an overnight trip for relaxation. Stayed at a cheap motel, ate at fast food places and took advantage of every discount available. Guess what? Had a great time and didn't use one credit card. With my wife unemployed I hope this is a life style change we can stick to.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  209. Luke

    We're probably spending about the same amount, but we've implemented some lifestyle changes - and WHAT we're spending money on has changed drastically.

    I moved in with my long-distance girlfriend last year. That saves a lot of money that we were spending on gasoline and vehicle maintenance.

    Instead of furnishing the house by shopping, though, I've taken up woodworking as a hobby. So, now, I've been spend my extra money on good lumber and quality power tools. I've nearly outfitted my workshop, so I expect that the power-tool expenditures will drop off shortly. But there's a lot of stuff that needs to be built around the house. We end up with a higher-quality stuff around the house (no fiberboard shelves), and she likes the furniture a lot better, since she gets to specify exactly what she wants - and then she sees all of the hard work that goes into building that object especially for her. 🙂

    Similarly, we haven't been buying low-quality kitchen gadgets, or even disposable plastic containers. We invested in some glass containers that we should be able to use to carry our lunches to work, and I expect that they'll last for decades. We're saving at least $50/wk by packing lunch rather than going out - and, despite having been put on a diet, I like my lunch better because she made it.

    While it feels like we're spending about the same amount as before the lifestyle change, I guess we really are spending less. All of that money that used to go to gasoline and car maintenance is now going to debt-reduction. FWIW, a big chunk of the debt that I have is the money that I lost when I sold my house to make this move. That should be paid off in a few more months, and that will be a relief.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  210. Steven

    It is for our family now. The poor economy has forced us to examine what we are spending our money on. It's really been an awakening seeing how much money you can save by eliminating unnecessary purchases that we didn't think twice about before these hard and worrisome economic times.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  211. Ingrid

    Yes! Spending less is a new reality for my fiancé and me, but we see it more as disposing with the laziness that has caused us, for years, to shell out exorbitant amounts on cabs and take-out, as well as disposing with the undue graciousness that has lead us to participate in lavish parties for friends and their otherwise insignificant birthdays, for example (i.e., a 10-person restaurant dinner and drinks to celebrate a random 33rd birthday).

    April 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  212. mike


    My wife and I have been working the past 3.5 years to pay off our mortgage early. Now that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are enjoying some of the "priviledges" of having no debt, like going out to eat, taking weekend trips, etc.

    Alas, if only the people who use to do these things would have taken care of debt first....

    There is nothing wrong with splurging if you have the means.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  213. Scout

    Yes as a IT consultant I would have to say yes. Companies are less apt to make large purchases when there is so much uncertainty in the market. My major clients at Fortune 500 companies seem scared of what is coming from our top goverment officials – go figure??

    April 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  214. Curtis M. Johnson, DDS

    As I come to terms with the end of a 2 decade marriage and the dissolving of million dollar house, cars and caribbean condo's because of the divorce; I am so so resolved to living in a 1 bedroom coop where the 2 foot lawn and a fifteen step walkway is ok with me. I am enjoying paying a 200,000 coop mortgage rather than a million dollar note to keep up with the Jones and the Woods who really don't give a Darn about you or me ....
    I do not think I will every buy a house again. I do not need it...

    April 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  215. Becky - Byrdstown, TN

    I've been a "saver" the last several years. However, I'm not able to save quite as much right now .. due to the fact that I've been laid off for a year and not yet secured a job! When I do land a job, I plan on hunkering down and saving even more than before.

    After all, I'm looking to retire one of these days and I think savings (including real estate investments, CDs, bonds, etc.) will need to be more of my retirement plan than the company-contributed 401k !!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  216. Karen

    Of course it is. We have cut our spending down as far as we can, perhaps. The dogs still gets their meds and tests.

    We've become more careful with the foods we buy, using coupons that I garner on line and in the papers. Some local stores don't accept them, so they lose our business. I keep cash register receipts and cross check prices. We are retired with a fixed income now, and it's getting very hard.
    It all helps.

    We are just fortunate we have good retirement medical insurance, though we pay separately for mine, and Medicare.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  217. Tessa

    Spending less is a COLD reality. It has served to remind one of the unnecessary purchases we'd been making during fat times. Now every nickel is weighed and the struggle is to get what you need while staying away from the "made in China" labels. We've been without steady work for over five years now – how else will the way I spend encourage the very manufacturing jobs we need? A permanent change in spending habits? I will never look at shopping for wants vs. needs the same way again.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  218. Jewel

    Eating one meal a day, not buying needed medicine, or going to routine doctors visits, and we have let all extras go, except our ISP.
    It will be next when our contract runs out next month.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  219. mickey

    Well let's see, I'm unemployed, and looking at a possible short sale on my home. I even stopped playing the lottery. When I was earning 70k a year, I admit I spent way too much on others. My motto, "I can always make more". Now, I have tomato plants I started from seed, spend less on groceries, clip coupons, and am down to just one pair of panties without holes in them. What a difference a year makes!


    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  220. William from Minneapolis, MN

    No. My family does not buy on credit and we never spend more than we can afford. We tear through the Sunday paper looking for coupons. We figure save today means retirement in Kauai tomorrow.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  221. Tom Bruce

    It's not the new reality, it has been our life-long pattern. Over spending and charging is what got this country in the state it is in. Except for my daughter's education, a very expensive private school, we have always lived within our means. My wife's and my parents came from lower middle class, hard working backgrounds and taught us the value of a dollar. Unfortunately, our educations did not teach us how to make our money work for us, only how to work for money. Yet now, as we approach full retirement, our accountant says our status is "golden." Never invested in the stock market. Never took a fancy cruise. Never bought a new, loaded car. But always had plenty to eat and a good roof over our heads and no financial worries. We are happy/ And our daughter's education was worth every penny.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  222. Susan

    We have been cutting down in our household mostly becuase we just bought a new house, lowering our rent and utlities. Becuase of the recession, my fiance's employer is trying not to give commission to its sale people, making us a bit tighter. Luckily we have never spent beyond our means and bargin hunted for our house. To help our family make ends meet during the recession, we took in my fiance's little sister as she is going into college, supporting her so they do not take the extra cost of a dorm. I am graduating with my masters in special education in this summer and hoping to find a teaching position to make things a bit more comfortable.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  223. nicole

    I have always been careful to not live beyond my means. Even with that in mind... my famly is still struggling and we had to look even closer at our finances to save money. I am exhausted on a daily basis trying to figure out where to save more money and figuring out ways to pay our bills. A lot of the time we can't pay our bills when they are due. I have become the queen of calling utilities and lenders asking for extensions. If you do what you say you will do in the time you said you would, I have found most people will work with you. The biggest difference now is I will buy most of our clothes and food at 99cent stores, yard sales and thift shops. I am so tired of being broke.

    Nicole, Las Vegas, NV

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  224. Ryan

    Sure. But my question is: Why doesn't congress follow the lead of the people they "represent" and stop their unnecessary spending as well?!?!?!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  225. Lloyd Fayetteville NC

    In our home – we've been looking for ways to continue our lifestyle while spending less money... Last year, we saved over $1200.00 by cutting out cable and switching to satellite tv ... and by taking out our 'land' phone line; we all use our cellphones 100% instead.

    We've also been trying out more 'store brand' grocery and cleaning items versus name brands... Some of these things are really good and cost a lot less. Our family has actually turned this new sense of 'saving money' into a fun approach to living like we're used to – without spending anywhere near the same amount of money we did just a year or so ago. I don't see this changing.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  226. Nancy

    Spending less has always been a reality for us, even when we were making enough money for luxuries. So we missed some trends and a few bells and whistles; we never missed them. Almost at retirement, our house is paid, we have no debt, and jost hope investments get back on track. Time is our greatest luxury and we're enjoying every moment.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  227. Jerry La Roe

    No Jack; WE are spending more, just getting less. When you are on a fixed income ,theres nothing left to save.Waiting for our stimulis check.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  228. Terry

    Not really spending less. Maybe even more. I live in the midwest where things don't hit us as hard (like no flash fires, floods, just maybe a tornado or two...) But to feel like I'm on track with the rest of the country I am clipping coupons, bargaining more (kinda fun) watchingfor sales. So spending less? No. Spending smarter.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |

    Americans are 80% stupid and they will continue to use their credit cards until they are maxed out or someone prys them from their "cold dead fingers" – it's living a lie for the past two generations of buy now and pay later or just go bankrupt and don't pay at all. When will Americans realize they just don't need all the crap?
    B Hoffman, Mechanicsburg, Pa

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  230. Shaun

    My family has been practicing spending less & saving more and feel that the current economy has acted as a wake up call for our finances. We intend to continue living within our means and not above. We are experiencing less stress by not using credit too.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  231. Louise in Alabama

    With all these percentages you are throwing at me I am confused. One week I may need to buy medicine and the next week I may need a pair of shoes. The next week I may have a dollar left over out of my check. I do not want percentages. I want answers.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  232. Josh - WI


    Having just graduated from a private college with $52,000 of debt (Only 2 years worth) and working for 4 months at a company that had just been bought out...saving money is now always on my mind.

    My college dreams of buying a new car and a few nice toys have gone straight out the window.

    - Josh
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    P.S. Are you hiring anyone in your IT Department?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  233. Max in NJ

    Jack, When I go to the supermarket, I don't see fewer people shopping, but I do notice people looking for those items on sale, just like me. My family is spending about the same now as we were before the recession, but we are spending the same on less. Food costs more, and since we can't afford to spend more, we just buy less. It seems to me that spending less is not a reality for my family, but we won't be indulging ourselves quite as much in the future. The new reality for my family is spending more on less: For a Jersey teenager, Jack, I'm kinda mad at the generations that came before me right now.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  234. Walter L. Johnson

    Yes, we are spending less and will do so in the future. It is not by choice. Paying for basics and medical care takes more of our income every year leaving less for everything else. While our retirement pay has increased 3.5% each year, our health care has risen far higher.

    Even with that we have started saving money a little money, but only because of sharp declines in 403(b) mutual funds that were to supplement our retirement.

    I have taken over investing for the small savings and have increased them by 25% in a bit over a month, so I am displeased with mutual funds.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  235. Jeff

    Personally no, but I certainly understand that many people NEED to spend less as they do not have a job. However, for those that do have jobs or money, they should go buy what they need and not stop spending because of news media fears. It is very sad that so many people are without jobs, but until people who have money and solid jobs start spending it wisely on things they need, this economy will never get turned around.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  236. Bill W

    Who ever thought that it would be a good idea to send solid manufacturing jobs overseas (jobs that can't ever be replaced in the "knowledge economy", which we also send overseas, since we don't need as many people to think about things as it takes to build things), and gut the middle class, for what, so we could save 10% on all the stuff we buy? Which was all bought on credit anyway and now defaulted on? And add massive pollution to the environment since we now have to ship everything halfway around the world? So we can have lead in our toys, poison in our pet food, and buy generally crappy products? I would rather pay more to know something was made in the USA, made correctly, kept Americans employed (so they could pay their share of taxes and stay off of welfare or whatever expensive government health care progam is coming). There is such a failure of leadership, business and political, in this country, that they can't see how connected all these problems are? Amazing!! I'll be spending my usual, which was always within my means, but I hope everyone cuts back so these "leaders" get the message.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  237. Greg M.

    With, NO DOUBT!, we as a family have cut back and continue to save.It has become a prime directive to pay off our home and we've ended the search for a 2nd home in the mountains,(Florida will have to do) The cars are paid for and we're selling two & keeping two. We believe that we're extremely blessed as a Family and that's where our priorities should lie as well as education and our neighbors. The self serving times are over; if only the G-NO-P could HELP instead of Hinder Our Country???

    April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  238. Alice

    It's time America catch up with the rest of the world. No where
    people spend so much and waste so many resources as in
    the U.S. – It's a real insult to people that are living in dire poverty,
    going hungry, and destitute, especially here in our own country.
    We do not realize that poverty - real poverty - not just people living
    on welfare - but people living in tents - is a daily way of life
    for many Americans.
    This economic crisis has certainly been a wake up call for many of us.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  239. S.A.

    Why should you spend more if that eventually flows to China's coffers. US government need to borrow that money to give that to us again for spending. So the one-way flow of wealth (toward China) is unsustainable, while US is swamped with the debt. Out of 3.6 trillion yearly budget, US will be setting aside almost 1 trillon dollars just to pay interest to China, Japan and other countries. Lastly, buying that foreign car means putting the country further into debt which our children and grand children will be paying. So, spend on US goods makes sense, spending on foreign goods must be reduced.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  240. CJ Newton

    Jack, for 8 years we were misruled by a smirk in a suit who made speeches in front of hand-picked audiences while America's economy burned and New Orleans sank. Yes, I am spending less. Since 1980 the GOP has been driving down my middle class wages, so I respond by driving an older car, seeing movie matinees, and building my meals around what's in the supermarket weekly sales. I consider every dollar I spend, and try to avoid corporate in favor of local small businesses. Our one indulgence is dinner at owner-operator restaurants. We've got a government now that governs, rather than posing for photo ops.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  241. Kristy, Texas

    Ever since I was laid off in October, my family has learned to survive on a lot less money. I clip grocery coupons, and we realize that we don't have to have the latest and greatest things. Actually when I think about it, most of my money was going towards day care. I think that we are actually in better shape financially that we were when we had two incomes.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  242. Karen, TN

    We've always been careful spenders, but we are donating more to charity and trying to buy domestic goods and produce whenever possible.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  243. Ham in Virginia

    Spending less? No, about the same, but it is interesting to see others now living by the rules my wife and I have always lived by and tried to pass on to the kids: "If you cannot pay cash, you cannot afford it." We are 64, still working, and still saving with no sympathy for those who signed for loans they could never afford but expect all the taxpayers to help them on. Glad to see some responders are cutting up their credit cards. More people should have done this a long time ago.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  244. frankie

    Is wealth measurable only by runaway consumerism and imaginary fortunes based on unethical speculations by banks and insurance companies and mortgage lenders? I can imagine an America where wealth is measured by good roads and schools and thriving industries and families who have money in the bank.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  245. Michael, Kansas City, MO

    I am supporting two households - me in Northern Minnesota whereI am working, and my wife and son in Kansas City, where my legal residence is - on the salary of one-year fixted term professorship. In this bad economy it is the only place where I could get work - 700 miles north of where my family lives. As a result we are perpetually broke! The administration keeps telling us there is light t the end of he tunnel, but all I see is the light of an oncoming train. My family and Ispend less because we just don't have it to spend - and the additional money in my check that adds up to the price of a family meal at McDonald's every two weeks just doen't cut it. Perhaps if those on Capitol Hill had to live like my family lives, perhaps they would actually DO SOMETHING substantial about this.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  246. Corey

    Seriously Corina? I am 25 years old so I am part of the "current generation." This recession has taught me how much greed can destroy an entire country and bring the whole system down. I couldn't disagree with you more on the abundance nonsense. People work hard to get a lot of "stuff." Living happily and comfortably is completely appropriate if you can afford it. Do I need my plasma TV? No, but it makes me happy. Just because you have different priorities and interests, doesn't mean other people are wrong. If you don't like materialism, leave.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  247. Joan Wheeler

    I'm spending less because I have less. This new 'decision' to spend less sounds a little like "let them eat cake." I have no choice.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  248. Eric

    I'm spending more as well. I mean that is what the government is doing right. Make less spend more that will fix the economy. I used to live right and spend only what I could afford and even safe some, but now the current administration would rather I spend beyond my means and let the government bail me out later.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  249. Tom B

    Spending less, even on my internet service.......Gotta make this quick....running out of ti.......

    April 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  250. Stacey

    No, I spend the same. I'm lucky enough that the recession hasn't hit home. My husband and I have recession proof jobs, and we've always paid our bills on time. We don't put things on credit that we can't pay. In fact, we've benefited from the recession by refinancing our mortgage at a much lower interest rate. As it stands, the recession is going to save us $100,000 over our 30 year mortgage.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  251. Marianne/Indiana

    Yes, I'm spending less, because I have less to spend. But I am buying less from the store because my dollar is purchasing less. I don't mind having less money to spend only I wish the purchasing power was the same as it used to be.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  252. Chance -- Colorado Springs

    I'm spending slightly more, but only because of the terrific values out there in the secondary market.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  253. Chua

    No, we live within our means. It isn't due to the recession, it is knowing that there are few things we need, and we need to pay for it with money we have, not borrowed money which ensures I'll be working for someone else to pay later.

    The older generations that got us in this mess and are leaving us with their debt could have stopped to realize they should have become better educated, more adaptable, and thus more resilient to these shocks. There is no way they should have been surprised when their job was outsourced, if someone can do my job for less it is my duty to improve my skills to stay ahead of the curve. No resting on my laurels. Savings would have helped a lot when they lose their jobs, but they chose not to save. They combined this attitude with unrestrained spending using debt and now are shocked, just shocked, they can't pay their bills?

    We will probably save $50,000 post taxes this year and we're 27. We by no way live a sparse life, but knowing that in the flush times you save for rainy days. You don't cut taxes and start wars during a boom, you save to cover your a$$ in a downturn, it is a pretty simple notion.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  254. Jennifer (Los Angeles, CA)

    I'm steadily increasing my savings and will continue to do so until I have accumulated a year worth of liquid emergency savings to take care of essential expenses. After that, I'll feel more comfortable spending again, but overall there will be more scrutiny to make sure I'm getting the best value for my money.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  255. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    I am not getting any younger ,I never saw a Brinks truck at the end of a wake,you can not it with you.So Jack spent it now because that dollar in your pocket will soon be worth 50 cents

    April 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  256. Harold, Phoenix,AZ.

    We are spending less, the cost of things has always been considered
    before buying. We count our blessings daily.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  257. Don Schreier , Naples, Fl

    Just getting away from the savings habits of Americans in this time of economic upheaval in all Americans lives, I must take this time to,oops excuse me I just heard on your station that we are in a pandemical crisis and I must go get a flu shot. But wait, I don't have any health insurance to pay for it! Why doesn't the media stop creating all this turmoil? Up until you people started reporting this it was page 3 news. Arnold is not doing America any favors by declaring a state of emergency in California. Lets get a little more responsible.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  258. Mike of Hot Springs.

    We spend whatever we can get our hands on. We earned it and we will spend it.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  259. Oregonian

    We started spending less 5 years ago but not by choice. Our business went under and with business loans and IRS payments we learned to get by on very little. Before those hard times we lived very well, travelled, ate out a lot; but when we hit hard times we learned a new lifestyle and when times got better financially we still lived like we did't have any money so this weak economy hasn't phased us too much as yet. Adapting to this lifestyle is a lesson the previous depression generation learned and lived and now it's our turn. Overall us going through those hard times was good for our family as we knew we could live on less.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  260. Stoney TN

    I have not changed my lifestyle, it's called living within your means. That is something that this I want it now generation isn't used to doing. That is also what has gotten the US into the economic situation that we are in now!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  261. S.A.

    Stephen Fox,
    You said "...No. In fact, I find myself spending more–perhaps something every able person could do.....if more money is circulating."

    Sure, money circulating is good. But, 80% of that circulated money ends up in China, Germany, Japan, India's coffer. We sure get that money back, but it is thru borrowing from them- that means selling a piece of America for each BMW and Toyoto we buy....

    April 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  262. Linda Bimel

    My husband and I have never been big spenders, so our spending remains about the same, but we have been more diligent with saving. However, our biggest increase is in the area of giving. We're more sensitive to those around us who have been hardest hit by these economic times, and we have greatly increased our giving, both through charities and directly to those in need, although we try to do it anonymously to protect the dignity of the receivers. Giving to others helps us feel more gratitude for what we have, and our personal "joy factor" has gone through the roof! I think Pres. Obama's challenge to everyone to give back is wonderful, and I hope everyone takes him up on it! It's a great way to turn the negative of the bad economy into a real positive - people helping each other!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  263. Milton Brown

    From Robins AFB, Ga.

    I am a medically retired veteran with a wife and four kids. Both of us are in college and are blessed to make a little more than ends meet. However, I think out of fear of the unkown, We tend to spend less on commodities and more on our mortgage principal. Spending is different, depending on your priorities.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  264. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Spending leass is not a new reality for this family, it has always been our norm to be frugal and spend only when essential for health reasons. In our part of the United States you grew up not always getting everything you thought you needed so wisely spending hard earned money has always just been part of our normal lifestyle. This economic downturn really has not had much impact on our family; everyone still is employed if they care to be, we continue to be careful to spend on items that are very needed for good reasons, and as a matter of fact my wife and I are helping out our daughter and son-in-law buy a new home so our daughter can go back to college to complete her doctrate. I should mention that I am retired and unable to work at a normal job due to disability as the result of a stroke 15 years ago. I now work out of our home and manage family investments full time, write, and do volunteer work in the small city we live in. If you work at it many things are possible you just need to get off your rear and get to work

    April 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  265. Dave from Denver

    Why should I spend less? I have money that I worked extremely hard for, and I spend it whenever I want. If all these respondents spent a fraction of their belly-aching, hand-wringing, chicken-little screaming time applying themselves to the task of wealth building, they wouldn't be so ......what is the term......disenfranchised?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  266. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Since I retired I have learned the meaning of 'downwardly mobile' and have adopted the life of a minimalist. Getting by on a whole lot less by shedding what you don't need works great and the headaches of responsibility vanish. You can save money if you just ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

    April 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  267. David

    My wife and I are saving more. We are not spending as much as we used to since we cleaned out a relative's house earlier this year (including a nonworking freezer that had "stuff" in it...probably had been off for ten years). Whatever you buy will end up decaying, so spend your money wisely.

    I once heard expert advice for building up a nest egg...spend less than you make and do it for a really long time.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  268. Nadia, Chicago

    What kind of life are you living if you only spend or have money for the bare necessities? People need to stop asking themselves whatelse they can cut out and start asking themselves how can they make more or additional income. The lesson we should have all learned by now is that a job is not the answer to that question. There are legitimate ways to earn serious money and be your own boss, even in this economy. Search them out. Stop being passive and start being in control of your own destiny. You'll never get to the desired destination if you're just a passenger on someone else's bus.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  269. Michelle from Iowa

    We cut our spending back four years ago when I lost my gov't job. Our income was cut in half. No other high paying jobs in this rural area and we have no desire to move back to the city. (been there done that-never again!) Have paid off our credit cards but have medical bills from last year's surgery(out of pocket/ded). Car (2002) needed a new motor- added that to the loan so the value is now upside down, truck (1993)that was paid for needed work so there is a lien against that again. Upcoming occasional expenses(car license/new year's ded to buy meds.....) We have enough to pay our absolute basics(mortgage and utilities) but not enough to cover extras that come up. Today we were debating where to bounce our check to buy groceries. Groceries are a luxury- that's where we're at until the garden starts producing!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  270. Cris from Pennsylvania

    My mother was a child of the Great Depression and taught us how to live frugally. My house is small, my car is used, I clip coupons, shop around and deny my children things they don't need. Excluding food and fuel, my monthly expenses (no mortgage) are less than $300. My net monthly income is about $1800. As I am a single mother, of course I worry about the car and the house and the furnace and college expenses, but you can't let things, or the lack of them rule your life.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  271. Charity

    Unfortunately, the only thing that will get the economy rolling is to spend more. But if you don't have it to spend, what do you do? Spending isn't bad. Wasteful spending is what gets you into trouble.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  272. Brian - Arizona

    My wife and I are spending less, but not because of the recession; but because I know my marginal tax rate is going up!!!

    April 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  273. GeorgeJungle, Plano - TX

    For those of you who have mentioned the "solid" jobs you have, could you please let me know where I can find one?
    Much appreciated.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  274. Dave


    Spending less is new for me – which is really saying something coming from a spoiled college kid. I've gone from filling my belly with Corona to Natural Light. It's a tough world we live in, Jack. I wish the best for everyone in it.

    Dave, Tucson AZ

    April 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  275. Daniel (Central PA)

    Jack, spending less has always been a reality for my family. If we don’t have the money we don’t buy it, and if we do have the money we use our Discover Cards which give us cash back bonuses for even more bang for our buck. The real reality is that Americans have been on a spending frenzy for decades, and thanks to the last administration our economy relies on it. Most Americans live well beyond their means; they like their HUGE gas guzzling cars, their HUGE homes, and strive to live like Hollywood celebrities. It’s the American way… what can I say...

    April 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  276. Laura

    We aren't spending LESS, but we are spending SMARTER and on things that are more important to us. We overhauled our entire monthly budgeting and spending habits.

    As just one example, we switched phone companies, homeowners' insurance, and auto insurance, altogether for a savings of nearly $1,000 per year.

    This enables us to pay for swim lessons for our four small children this summer (this is a safety issue for me, I believe all children should know how to keep from drowning), and I spend more money on hobby investments that do bring in money, like refinishing antiques and reselling them for a profit.

    This in turn goes to equity in our manufacturing business that was founded in September 2008 – yes, during the height of the panic! – with no loans whatsoever.

    One step back from that, and we have been able to turn a profit, and have hired two people while others were laying off.

    All from spending more wisely on a small scale. Yes, we do still carry debt, and rely on short term credit for our manufacturing.

    Yes, we do still go out to eat (but spend less).

    But no, we no longer try to keep up with the guys next door, and every dollar spent is done with the thought in mind, "how can I turn this into two dollars?" THAT is really fun.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  277. Ross

    I have cut back significantly and plan to keep doing so. I am opposed to all the BS bailouts for fat cat wall streeters and "Tax Rebates", rebates that go to people who dont even pay taxes!!
    I do not own stock nor have a 401K, I make just above the cut off for most of the "give aways". So reducing my spending is my method of protesting what I feel are BS decisioins and policies.
    I realize my behavior is contrary to the policy goals of these giveaways and bailouts. But didn't anyone think that the people left out of the freebies would feel resentment?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  278. Matt Yoder

    I am a real estate broker and haven't closed a deal in over a year. So cutting back isn't anything "new". However, I do hope that frugality creeps into the American psyche in a permanent way. Now I'll just hold my breath in anticipation...

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  279. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    Americans need to re-learn the lessons of their grandparents. Spend only what you can afford and save as much as you can in anticipation of bad times. As a country we have gone slightly nuts since the 80's. While we were watching our industrial base disappear we convinced ourselves that foreign products were much better and should cost a whole lot more. Meanwhile we let our auto makers and others turn out junk and set the stage for their eventual collapse. It's time to get this country under control and begin making quality products again to be purchased by consumers who "saved up."

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  280. Alexander Rothzeid

    I'm putting off buying a new stove and an HD TV until my current ones give out. 95 percent of my meals are made by myself because eating out is too expensive! As for a vacation, I may just put it off unless i can find a deal I can't refuse. In my 49 years I've had tougher times, so making sacrifices is nothing new to me.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  281. Jim - Los Angeles

    Yes, we're being sucked into the recession vacuum. I think Obama would classify us as colateral damage. We are a middle class average American family with 4 kids. I have been employed, self employed, employed and now self employed always seemingly struggling but yet always finding away to survive, these times are going to be the worst for us as my work and income have slowed considerably, but may also tun out to be the best in the long run?

    I am glad to hear that there are many people employed and unaffected, however I only wish they were not quick to judge those that are, as many people did live within their means and are coming up short.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  282. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    Spending is less a reality for people who have to live payday to payday,with four kids. This was never a discretionary moment.We had a good work ethic and we always had a job or two until the clouds cleared, the kids were educated,out of the house.We still help,our kids,others ,and we feel for those today who can't find a job. I'm sure that in five years or less,there will be plenty of jobs and nobody to fill them,feast or famine,that's the way the music goes in the economic,financial boogey. Gene

    April 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  283. Larry in Pasadena, Ca.

    Jack, I work in the entertainment industry, primarily in news. (I’ve even worked for CNN Los Angeles on Larry King and a Situation Room or two!) For many in this business like myself, the current economic situation is simply the bad-tasting frosting on the cake. We’ve been suffering from major cutbacks for the past several years, and the current cicumstances are little more than another nail in our collective coffins. (By the way, do you folks need any audio techs on the East coast?)

    April 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  284. Nathan Prophet

    Spending less is the new reality; the bubble has burst for all but a few well-heeled Americans. However, it is a self-defeating action. The more we cutback spending, the more the economy tanks, so we cut back spending more, and the economy tanks more, so we... well, you get the picture. Our economy is built on consumerism and credit, and we are cutting back on both. We need a different economic system for the long haul.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  285. Gabe Hodziewich

    Spending less isn't my new reality – it's been my only reality for years. I'm someone who lives shockingly below my means, with no personal loans, no credit card debt and a healthy savings rate. Since I never participated in the boom, I'm not the least bit affected by the bust.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  286. Brandon Fort Worth Texas

    Americans need to always be choosing necessity over luxury. Some experts say you should always have enough saved up to last you 8 months without a job. That is a goal that everyone needs to push for, because in tough economic times, you never know if your next.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  287. Gary

    I am seeing people who have lost their jobs suffer. loosing their homes, cars and needing food, clothing among other things. Other people who are showing up to work with nothing to do..This cannot last without becoming a trajedy to us all. I know there are people who think this cannot affect them. History has shown something different.
    The Royalty of Russia thought they were untouchable, but they were wrong. The reality of the worst case senerio, would be worse than we can imagine, yet no one is talking about that. I suggest you put your faith somewhere besides Obama, Prayer is in order. I suggest long and hard.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  288. carmen ada Gonzalez

    Well, picking up pennies from the floor is always a good way to make some money and also to do some aerobic exercise...

    April 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  289. lynne from NC

    This has been nothing new for my mother and me. We've always lived without a lot of stuff more so in the last few years due to high gas prices, no health insurance and no savings. The thing is that those that have never had to do it now feel our pain when the dentist office or the eye doctor is out.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  290. Lisa, Pensacola, FL

    Is spending less a reality for me and my family? Absolutely.

    Last September we went "cold turkey" on our credit cards. It was a shock at first but surprisingly a short-lived one. We now pay strictly with cash, and I believe this is as it should be. Credit is valuable when it comes to times like buying a home, a car, education, or needing a big ticket item, but otherwise let it be pay-as-you-go. It was a tough avenue at first, but I am so glad we took it. We don't miss them (credit cards) at all.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  291. Rick Duty

    Spending less is indeed a stark reality, and an unexpected headache at this stage of our lives. We refer to this headache as "the Bush Hangover".

    Had Barack Obama fully realized the mess he was stepping into, he'd probably prefer to be selling Pontiacs in Peoria.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  292. Michael Pszonka

    Yeah I know Jack its great isn't it?! Just wait 5 years down the line, see if we still learned something.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  293. Ken

    I am spending way less to prepare for the massive tax increases we will see when the reality of trillions in Government debt hits over the next several decades. Lucky for the administration most Americans are financially illiterate.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  294. James


    My family is trying to but I have to pay my debts off first, but I will try to save as little as I can. These banks need to lower their APR on loans because its getting too ridiculous since they screwed us up in the first place.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  295. Marcia

    Yes with good reason. Food and gas are on the uprise and the Goverment is run by idiots. Does Spector think by changing parties he will be reelceted? He is still the same man the voted for a stimulus packager full of pork that the people of this country have to pay for by the Government using our tax money.

    We do not have extra funds to use to buy anything but necessity We are on a fixed income. We are retired. We were wiped out in the stock market.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  296. Rose

    Yes, alot less. After the gas hike everything went up and never came down and never will. The rate of pay is lagging behind, which causes us to spend less because it all boils down to having less to spend. Do I need to say who we Thank for this mess. It was B/C Admst.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  297. Steve

    I think that this recession is a good thing for America and the World. Our country has been directed by corporate greed and a "me, me" life style for the past 30 years and we have lost our sense of values. Materialism is more important that family in many respects and we value the dollar more than time spent with our kids. We work too long and too hard and enjoy life less and less. We can learn from other countries who have 35 hour work weeks, health care and education. We need to prioritize our lives again and if spending less due to a poor economy helps us get there then I say fantastic.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  298. LYNN

    IT'S TIME – TIME people woke up. America is the land of abundance, but it used to make me ANGRY watching people WASTE money. I think this recession is a good lesson for our generation, which is obsessed with having ’stuff’, which is usually junk. I’m glad to see people finally coming to their senses.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  299. TJ Nashville,TN

    We have always been careful with money. My partner and I have worked hard at jobs most people would find beneath them....driving trucks over the road. We always would delay any large purchase to avoid impluse buys. I think we are fairing a little better than some.

    Most Americans do not seem to realize that our government is digging us into an even larger hole. The governent should have to live in the same reality as most Americans. We have to cut back and make each penny count. We can no longer spend money that is not in hand.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  300. Bruce

    Yes, but that is what kills the remainder of the economy.

    April 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  301. Ed

    I've always been saving and spending less. Where has everyone else been?

    April 28, 2009 at 5:54 pm |